Thursday, January 18, 2018

Work-to-rule continues at BIR offices

Members of the public expressed concern over the inability to file their taxes after being turned away from the Board of Inland Revenue office on Queen Street, Port of Spain, yesterday. 

Workers are continuing with the work-to-rule action that Watson Duke, president of the representing union—Public Services Association (PSA) instructed earlier this month under Section 15 of the OSH Act, which states, “If a worker believes his health, safety or welfare is being compromised at work, he can refuse to work.”  

Duke informed the public last week that 1,500 employees from various Inland Revenue (BIR) offices in Port of Spain, south and central would not be functioning until the Occupational Safety and Health authorities (OSH) gave them a clean bill of health  and they received certificates from the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (Cariri) and the Fire Services approving the safety of the buildings. Groups of persons were seen crowding around the front entrance of the building as they were stopped at the door by security personnel who informed them the building was not opened to the public.

One man who said he came to file his taxes on Queen Street was told by security and another worker who poked their heads out the door that he should come back another day since there was no one there to provide the service.

When he queried when he should return the security officer on duty informed him that they were not sure if they would be opened by tomorrow or even next week.

Other members of the public who came to access other services grumbled that they could not believe that “this” (the work-to-rule) was still going on.

“So when they going to fix this? How long this going to go on. I wish I had a job like this just to come and sign and leave,” another man said.